MOUNT OLIVE — They say it’s not what you know; it’s who you know. And for the majority of newly graduated college students, finding work can rest on that fact. University of Mount Olive junior Morgan Morrissette understands the value of a good reference on her resume and has already found hers — a mouse named Mickey.
Morrissette, from Cary, has participated in the Disney College Program, an internship aimed at college students who want to gain valuable work experience and meet like-minded people from across the world. Morrissette got the idea from a close friend, a previous UMO student, who enrolled in the same program earlier in the year.
In the program Morrissette expected to gain experience and add a strong company name to her resume. She soon discovered the program was much more than a simple work placement. She spent eight months in Florida, which was a big move for a girl who lived in North Carolina her whole life. It was also the perfect opportunity to gain real world, life experiences.
The decision wasn’t easy however. The internship created issues with her college career, volleyball season and her expected graduation date. After weeks of planning with teachers, coaches and parents, compromises were reached and Morrissette continued taking her UMO classes while working at Disney.
Shortly before Morrisette’s departure, disaster struck - her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Refusing to let her own circumstances stand in the way of her daughter’s goals, Morrisette’s mother insisted she take advantage of the opportunity.
While at Disney, Morrissette’s role was in merchandise, where she worked at World of Disney, the largest Disney store in the world. She worked over 40 hours a week, with only one day off in the summer – the park’s busiest time of year. The biggest perk of the experience for Morrissette was the relationships she developed. The program recruits from all over the world, so she made friends from as far away as Australia and the UK.
As a graphic design major, Morrissette was thrilled to be given the chance to meet an “imaginer.” “The imagineers build layouts for the parks and rides,” Morrissette said. In the self-proclaimed “happiest place on earth” Morrissette was however worried that her perception of the magic might change. Instead, getting to see behind the scenes did the opposite. “Working for Disney has definitely changed how I look at the place,” says Morrissette. “Most people worry about ruining the ‘magic’ but it actually made the ‘magic’ of Disney all the more real.”
Now Morrissette is preparing for her final year at the University of Mount Olive with plans to graduate fall of 2015. Since she red shirted this past season, Morrissette also has two more chances to play for the Trojan women’s volleyball team. After college, she hopes to freelance as a graphic designer and coach volleyball out of state. Morrissette’s Disney experience is but the first step into an exciting future ahead.
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The university, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit www.umo.edu.